Donis lauds players following emphatic win

AFC Champions League 2019: Ulsan Hyundai 0-3 Urawa Red Diamonds (Ewerton 87′)

Al Hilal coach Georgios Donis has lavished praise on his players after they thrashed Lekhwiya 4-1 in the first leg of their AFC Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.

Donis was especially impressed with the result as his team were forced to play the home tie behind closed doors at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh. 

Midfielder Carlos Eduardo was the hero for Al Hilal after he scored in the 36th and 86th minutes, while Ailton and Khalid Kaabi found the back of the net in the 11th and 34th minutes respectively. 

"I want to congratulate the players as we played in difficult conditions whether it was the weather or playing without the support of our fans," Donis told the official AFC website. "The players showed an excellent performance and we got a big win.

Donis admitted that he was not impressed with the way his side started the match as they allowed Lekhwiya striker Youssef Msakni to score an equaliser just six minutes after Ailton had put Al Hilal ahead. But, he was happy with how his side responded after Lekhwiya scored as they have now taken a giant stride towards the semi-finals. 

"We started the match without concentration as we gave them a chance to level the scores and they nearly scored another goal," he said. "However, we finished the first half with a good lead which helped us to go into the second period with less pressure.

"We made many mistakes in the first half but we fixed things in the second period and scored a fourth goal which ended the match. I hope that we will have another good performance in the second leg in Doha."